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I notice that the Edit header says that small, single-character edits should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Does this mean that spelling should be left incorrect? I don't have much impulse to correct spelling in the body of a post, but I do find myself editing titles to correct spelling fairly frequently. Should I not do that?

(Also, not sure whether this should be in CV meta or SE meta, please advise.)

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I'll second @AbbyT.Miller's sentiment that titles are often more important than other aspects of a post.

In deciding whether to edit, remember that this bumps the post to the top of the main page. Some things to consider are how active the main page is at the moment (it's less of a big deal when traffic is slower) and where the post is currently (it's less of a big deal if it's currently in the top half of the main page). Even for older posts during busier times it could still be worth editing, though: an example would be if a post would be missed in a search due to the misspelling.

A couple other points:

  • I think part of the disapproval of "small, single-character edits" is when there are multiple issues with a post (e.g., spelling errors in the body of a post) that are ignored, and only a small correction is made. When evaluating a suggested edit, I find that less worthy.
  • I think there can be some cultural / stylistic differences between the sites with respect to issues like this (for example, between high-traffic sites like SO, and smaller sites like CV). So, I think this is an appropriate place to discuss this issue.
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I'll talk about what I try to do, and let others voice their opinion on its suitability or unsuitability:

1) I always try to fix spelling errors in titles, even if its the only thing wrong. I think clean, clear titles matter.

2) Since this is a permanent repository, I'd prefer to have good spelling and formatting in posts, but I think it's pointless to fix one spelling error, unless it's a key word someone might search for and it's only used that once. If I do edit, I try to fix absolutely everything I can at once - every bit of spelling, grammar, formatting, unclear expression, ambiguous abbreviations - the lot. (I don't always succeed - e.g. I sometimes spot something important immediately after I finish editing, to my annoyance; in that case, I figure if I re-edit immediately, at least it only bumps it while it's still at the top of the active queue. If there's only a trivial problem remaining, I do try to leave it alone.)

3) If I am prompting the original poster to add something, I will sometimes mention other things they should fix in their own edit.

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Here's the principles that I think are important:

  • clarity/comprehensibility and being able to find posts matters

  • one or two minor spelling or grammar errors alone that don't impact the first thing aren't a big deal

  • if you're editing anyway, get everything you can, including stuff that doesn't matter (not least, because then nobody else will be tempted to edit it three hours later)

  • try not to keep bumping old posts during busier times. If you're editing three six month old posts each four times in four hours, you should maybe slow down and give the new posts a chance. (Occasionally, I have caught myself re-editing an answer or question on an old post more than once in a short period ... and then I hear the @gung-angel on my right shoulder whispering to me to avoid temptation and spare the front page)

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To respond to your question more directly, I think you should fix titles, and you sound like you're doing just fine.

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    $\begingroup$ +1, this is all sound advice. For the sake of clarity, nothing bad could happen if you edit the same thread over & over; it will stay at the top, but not really displace anything. OTOH, on my browser I can see 7 threads / titles on the main page w/o scrolling down, so editing 6-7 threads when there's other activity will push otherwise active threads out of site for those too lazy to scroll O:-). Of course, when traffic is slow & has been for a while, this doesn't make as much difference. $\endgroup$ – gung Jul 1 '13 at 2:31
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    $\begingroup$ +1. This is very close to my own editing attitudes. The long-term goal of getting well-written, (nearly) error-free and thus readable questions as a source for searching and study still seems underestimated by many CV users. A taste and talent for editing is not universal, but what is? But, seriously, what is not a busy time with activity from around the world? I am British, so when I get up, Europe is busy and when I got to bed, America is busy, and there is everywhere else too. $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Aug 1 '13 at 10:55
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I try to control myself as I understand that it is not the way things are done around here but I often have the impulse to fix even small things, Wikipedia-style. That way, we can develop a tidy and clean knowledge base over time. I feel that fixing typos and grammar mistakes, helping non-native speakers like myself, even gradually improving each other's answers is very valuable and we should not be too shy about it.

The only issue seems to be this “bumping” on the home page but this does not seem like a huge issue, at least as long as nobody edits dozens of questions en masse. At least questions that have just been bumped for some other reason (new answer, other edit, random “community” poking) can be edited aggressively. Also giving some new exposure to interesting unanswered questions could be seen as an upside.

I thought this possibility should just be mentioned, even though I am not a moderator or anything.

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    $\begingroup$ +1, I think your non-moderator status is irrelevant. As an active member, your opinions should count as much as anyone else's. As for the content, I think this is quite reasonable. $\endgroup$ – gung Jul 2 '13 at 0:52

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